Dubliners Eveline: Questions and Answers

James Joyce

Eveline: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is the overwhelming characteristic of Eveline’s youthful memories?

2. Explain the significance of the nameless priest whose photo hangs on the wall.

3. Frank’s background is given, but he’s not physically described. Why not?

4. How can we tell that Eveline is not in love?

5. What is the significance of all the “dust” in the house?

6. Why is Eveline’s job at the Stores mentioned?

7. Why does Eveline find her life not “undesirable” at the moment she’s about to leave it?

8. Explain the significance of the Italian organ player’s music when Eveline is getting ready to leave.

9. Eveline is afraid both to go with Frank and to turn him away, especially “after all he had done for her.” What does this imply?

10. At the end of the story, Eveline clings to the gate and won’t follow Frank. Interpret this.

Answers
1. Everyone Eveline truly cared about is dead.

2. The father cares so little about his religion that he doesn’t even bother to remember the priest’s name. It is an empty symbol to him.

3. Eveline is so numb to the concept of love that Frank is hardly a reality to her. He’s a means of escape, but not one of which she avails herself.

4. Eveline believes “she had begun to like” Frank, but this is the only emotion mentioned regarding him. She also doesn’t think of him in physical terms.

5. According to the Bible, we are made from dust and to dust we return. The dust in the home represents death.

6. In her position at the Stores, she’s treated like a servant, just as she is at home. There is no outlet for her, and no place where she feels her own significance.

7. She so fears change that her subconsciousness is attempting to convince her that her life isn’t that bad. In reality, of course, it’s unbearable.

8. The foreign music indicates a foreign influence and Eveline’s potential escape from her life and Dublin with Frank.

9. Eveline bases her responses on obligations to other people: her father, her (dead) mother, her (dead) brother, etc. Frank has come to symbolize just another obligation, but not romantic love.

10. She is literally and figuratively paralyzed; fear of change has frozen her in her current life.